With the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden on the near horizon, here at Inequality.org, we’re now ushering in our own era of change and growth, and we're going to fight for the kind of equitable society Dr. King envisioned.

The poverty all around us, Martin Luther King noted back in 1964, may not be anything new. But something fundamental, he told the nation, had changed about poverty. We now “have the resources to get rid of it." Continued King: “Just as nonviolence exposed the ugliness of racial injustice, so must the infection and sickness of poverty be exposed and healed.”

With the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden on the near horizon, an eager nation awaits another change, one we hope will usher in the equitable society Dr. King so boldly envisioned.

Here at Inequality.org, meanwhile, we’re now ushering in our own era of change and growth. We’ve just welcomed Rebekah Entralgo as our new managing editor. Before joining us, Rebekah led communications strategy at a national immigrant rights organization. She’s also covered labor and tax policy as a reporter for ThinkProgress and researched presidential conflicts of interest for the NPR Business Desk. 

We look forward to working with Rebekah to expand Inequality.org’s reach and continue to provide the latest and sharpest analyses of our great divides — and what we can do to overcome them.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team

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UK Soccer Star Shames Boris on Food Aid Scandal
The UK privatized Covid food aid and guess what happened? Children got scraps. The for-profit contractors distributed boxes with tiny amounts of tuna in plastic bags alongside half a bell pepper and a small chunk of carrot, telling needy parents the boxes would have to last up to two weeks. British anti-poverty advocates, including Manchester United star Marcus Rashford, were outraged. The famous athlete, pictured here volunteering at a food bank, had received free school meals as a child. The government, after Rashford demanded to speak with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, changed course and replaced the scandalous food boxes with vouchers. In this Inequality.org exclusive, Imogen Richmond-Bishop applauds Rashford while pointing out that “children in the UK should not have to rely on a star athlete to ensure they don’t go to bed hungry.”
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Not So Sweet Dreams for MyPillow’s Surly CEO
Some sleepless nights even a MyPillow can’t soothe. Just ask Mike Lindell, the CEO of America’s most famous sleep-aids corporation — and Donald Trump’s most fervent corporate fanboy. On the day before the assault on the Capitol, Lindell’s MyPillow website was running a “FightForTrump” discount code. The next day, right after the bloody riot, Lindell went onto the right-wing Newsmax network and blamed the violence on “undercover antifa” dressed up as “Trump people.” Even Trump’s detractors, Lindell proclaimed in another post-riot interview, will one day come to recognize his 2020 election victory. The much more likely outcome: History will record Trump and Lindell as a perfectly matched pair of scammers. Lindell’s MyPillow has had to settle over a dozen deceptive-advertising and false-claim lawsuits over the last decade. At one point, notes Consumer Reports, Lindell’s late-night ads were claiming his pillows could cure everything from sleep apnea to multiple sclerosis. Those pillows, on the other hand, sure can cure poverty, if only on a selective basis. Lindell’s current net worth: about $300 million.
A White House Office of Racial Economic Equity
In his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King bemoaned that moderation was the “Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom.” Dr. King had that right. In the 21st century, moderate reforms have not prevented a racial economic apartheid in America. This should be a wake-up call: We need bold action. That’s why Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and his colleague Tyler Bond are calling on Biden to announce a White House Office of Racial Economic Equity on his first day. This office would conduct racial inequality audits of economic policies and programs and develop an action plan for narrowing our racial economic divides..
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Must Our Billionaires Remain Politically Immortal?
The great roulette wheel in the sky has most certainly stopped turning for casino king Sheldon Adelson. He expired last week at age 87. But Adelson’s $33-billion fortune will live on — and distort our nation’s political life for years to come. How many years? We can’t, of course, see the future. But we can see how the past impacts our present. Consider, for instance, the current impactful political presence of Timothy Mellon. The 78-year-old Mellon ranks today as one of America’s biggest political donors. His grandpa: banker and industrialist Andrew Mellon, one of the nation’s three richest men back in the 1920s. Inequality.org co-editor Sam Pizzigati has more.
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This week on Inequality.org 

Carter Dougherty and Madeleine Johnsson, Wall Street Money, Racism, and the Politics of Anti-Democracy. While the backpedaling is now in full swing, big financial firms have long supported a virulently anti-democratic strain in American politics that always takes aim at people of color.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Tyler Bond, Obama Didn’t Close the Racial Wealth Divide. Can Biden?. Dr. King called moderation the 'great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom.' Biden should heed that warning today.

Elsewhere on the Web

Alan S. Davis, The wealthiest Americans are putting Scrooge to shame, Los Angeles Times. The wealthiest 0.1 percent have an estimated tax base of around $11 trillion, but give away only around 1 percent annually to charity. 

Rosa DeLauro, New administration must address inequality — especially during pandemic, National Catholic Reporter. Going back to our pre-pandemic days will not be good enough. Together, we must make the changes necessary to close the wealth gap that existed long before this pandemic.

Sam Mellins, ‘Enough Is Enough’: How a New York Coalition Is Pushing Lawmakers to Raise the State’s Revenue, Progressive. A major new effort to tax the rich.

Nomi Prins, What Kind of Country Prioritizes Billionaires During a Pandemic? Nation. The U.S. government’s lopsided response to Covid-19 has only worsened astronomical levels of inequality.

Jeff Andrews, Amazon’s Affordable Housing Pledge Won’t Fix Anything, Curbed. Jeff Bezos isn’t trying to solve the affordable housing problem. His Amazon empire is just trying to avoid blame for exacerbating it.

Joseph Stiglitz, Whither America? Project Syndicate. The neoliberal promise that wealth and income gains would trickle down to those at the bottom? Fundamentally spurious and an inviting opportunity for would-be demagogues.

Kenneth Thomas, A 1-percent surtax on newcomers’ multimillion-dollar homes could fund affordable housing in Florida, Miami Herald. The super rich now gobbling up million-dollar condos in South Florida have exacerbated the region’s already serious affordable housing problem.

Felix Salmon, How CEOs became the 4th branch of government, Axios. Corporate CEOs have become a permanent political force, wielding awesome power.

Will Bunch, An insurrection of upper-middle class white people, Philadelphia Inquirer. All about those January 6 putschists who flew into Washington via business class and stayed in four-star hotels with three-martini lobby bars.

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